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Reston is one of the leading "New Town" planned communities in the United States. Founded in 1964, Reston was influenced by the Garden City movement that emphasized planned, self-contained communities that intermingled green space, residential neighborhoods, and commercial development. The intent of Reston's founder, Robert E. Simon, was to build a town that would revolutionize post–World War II concepts of land use and residential/corporate development in suburban America. In 2018, Reston was ranked as the Best Places to Live in Virginia by Money magazine for its expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses, and bridle paths as well as the numerous shopping and dining opportunities in Reston Town Center. Beginning in 2017, however, high-density commercial and residential developments along the Dulles Toll Road began to spark concerns among residents about local government's ability to ensure that key infrastructure, including roads, schools, and parks, would remain in sync with the accelerating pace of new construction.
Reston is a census-designated place (CDP) in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Reston's population to be 60,070 as of December 2017.
In the early days of Colonial America, the land on which Reston sits was part of the Northern Neck Proprietary, a vast grant by King Charles II to Lord Thomas Fairfax that extended from the Potomac River to the Rappahannock. The property remained in the Fairfax family until they sold it in 1852.
Carl A. Wiehle and William Dunn bought 6,449 acres in northern Fairfax County along the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad line in 1886, later dividing the land between them, with Wiehle retaining the acreage north of the railroad line. Wiehle envisioned founding a town on the property, including a hotel, parks, and community center, but completed only a handful of homes before his death in 1901.
Wiehle’s heirs eventually sold the land, which changed hands several times before being purchased by the A. Smith Bowman family, who built a bourbon distillery on the site. By 1947, the Bowmans had acquired the former Dunn tract south of the railroad, for total holdings of over 7,000 acres. In 1961, Robert E. Simon used funds from his family’s recent sale of Carnegie Hall to buy most of the land, except for 60 acres (240,000 m2) on which the Bowman distillery continued to operate until 1987.
Simon officially launched Reston on April 10, 1964 (his 50th birthday) and named the community using his initials. He laid out seven "guiding principles" that would stress quality of life and serve as the foundation for its future development.
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